The Mutable Conflict

A Study of How the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict Is Actualized among Palestinians in Denmark

Research output: Book/ReportPh.D. thesisResearch

Abstract

This thesis analyses how the Palestinian-Israeli conflict moves across time and space. Empirically it explores how the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is actualized among Palestinians from Lebanon who live in housing projects in Denmark. Based on a detailed ethnographic study the thesis shows how the conflict is actualized as a rhythm, which the thesis coins ‘the rhythm of Nakba’.

The Arabic term Nakba literally means catastrophe and usually refers to the Arab-Israeli war of 1948, when the state of Israel was declared and more than 700,000 Palestinians became refugees. Among the interlocutors, though, the concept of Nakba is used in two additional ways, namely, to embrace their everyday life in Denmark (as in: ‘Life in Denmark is a catastrophe’), and to single out specific contemporary political events like the Cartoon Controversy in 2005, local clashes with the Danish police in 2008 or the Israeli invasions of Lebanon in 2006 and Gaza in 2008, respectively.

The rhythm of Nakba is played out as alternating intervals of long periods in which time stands still and nothing seems to happen and hectic moments of upheaval connected to the latest political event, when people take to the streets and participate in demonstrations and political meetings and in a flow of text-messages, emails and phone calls.

Through participant-observation and interviews the thesis explores how al-Nakba is actualized in mundane activities and spectacular events, in narratives and silences, in bodies and things. The thesis bears witness to how al-Nakba cannot be delimited to a historical event of 1948 nor to a specific geophysical place (such as the Occupied Palestinian Territories), but can take place anywhere and anytime, such as in Denmark in the present. The analysis suggests that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is not a chronological phenomenon with a beginning and an end but, rather, a rhythm characterized by the coexistence of past, present and future. This entails that the single Nakbas are not fuelled by the current political catastrophe alone but also by all of the past and the potential future Nakbas.

The thesis concludes that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is a mutable object that can become riots against the police, a Cartoon Controversy or an invasion of Lebanon or Gaza. The thesis identifies two characteristics of the mutable Palestinian-Israeli conflict. First of all, the current catastrophes are not copies of nor caused by al-Nakba of 1948. Rather, they are new conflicts that feed off what is at hand within a specific milieu at a given time, such as contemporary conflicts, artefacts and people. Secondly, the mutable conflict is nourished by temporal and spatial absences, such as the lack of transmission of knowledge from parents to children and the absence of a Palestinian nation state. It is these absences that enable the conflict to be recreated anew and become meaningful in new settings and at different times.

The thesis is based on sixteen months of fieldwork between September 2005 and February 2008.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationKøbenhavns Universitet
Number of pages255
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

Cite this

@phdthesis{2d082007b1dc4ca199f5a871756e58b6,
title = "The Mutable Conflict: A Study of How the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict Is Actualized among Palestinians in Denmark",
abstract = "This thesis analyses how the Palestinian-Israeli conflict moves across time and space. Empirically it explores how the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is actualized among Palestinians from Lebanon who live in housing projects in Denmark. Based on a detailed ethnographic study the thesis shows how the conflict is actualized as a rhythm, which the thesis coins ‘the rhythm of Nakba’.The Arabic term Nakba literally means catastrophe and usually refers to the Arab-Israeli war of 1948, when the state of Israel was declared and more than 700,000 Palestinians became refugees. Among the interlocutors, though, the concept of Nakba is used in two additional ways, namely, to embrace their everyday life in Denmark (as in: ‘Life in Denmark is a catastrophe’), and to single out specific contemporary political events like the Cartoon Controversy in 2005, local clashes with the Danish police in 2008 or the Israeli invasions of Lebanon in 2006 and Gaza in 2008, respectively. The rhythm of Nakba is played out as alternating intervals of long periods in which time stands still and nothing seems to happen and hectic moments of upheaval connected to the latest political event, when people take to the streets and participate in demonstrations and political meetings and in a flow of text-messages, emails and phone calls. Through participant-observation and interviews the thesis explores how al-Nakba is actualized in mundane activities and spectacular events, in narratives and silences, in bodies and things. The thesis bears witness to how al-Nakba cannot be delimited to a historical event of 1948 nor to a specific geophysical place (such as the Occupied Palestinian Territories), but can take place anywhere and anytime, such as in Denmark in the present. The analysis suggests that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is not a chronological phenomenon with a beginning and an end but, rather, a rhythm characterized by the coexistence of past, present and future. This entails that the single Nakbas are not fuelled by the current political catastrophe alone but also by all of the past and the potential future Nakbas. The thesis concludes that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is a mutable object that can become riots against the police, a Cartoon Controversy or an invasion of Lebanon or Gaza. The thesis identifies two characteristics of the mutable Palestinian-Israeli conflict. First of all, the current catastrophes are not copies of nor caused by al-Nakba of 1948. Rather, they are new conflicts that feed off what is at hand within a specific milieu at a given time, such as contemporary conflicts, artefacts and people. Secondly, the mutable conflict is nourished by temporal and spatial absences, such as the lack of transmission of knowledge from parents to children and the absence of a Palestinian nation state. It is these absences that enable the conflict to be recreated anew and become meaningful in new settings and at different times.The thesis is based on sixteen months of fieldwork between September 2005 and February 2008.",
author = "Anja Kublitz",
year = "2011",
language = "English",

}

The Mutable Conflict : A Study of How the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict Is Actualized among Palestinians in Denmark. / Kublitz, Anja.

Københavns Universitet, 2011. 255 p.

Research output: Book/ReportPh.D. thesisResearch

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N2 - This thesis analyses how the Palestinian-Israeli conflict moves across time and space. Empirically it explores how the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is actualized among Palestinians from Lebanon who live in housing projects in Denmark. Based on a detailed ethnographic study the thesis shows how the conflict is actualized as a rhythm, which the thesis coins ‘the rhythm of Nakba’.The Arabic term Nakba literally means catastrophe and usually refers to the Arab-Israeli war of 1948, when the state of Israel was declared and more than 700,000 Palestinians became refugees. Among the interlocutors, though, the concept of Nakba is used in two additional ways, namely, to embrace their everyday life in Denmark (as in: ‘Life in Denmark is a catastrophe’), and to single out specific contemporary political events like the Cartoon Controversy in 2005, local clashes with the Danish police in 2008 or the Israeli invasions of Lebanon in 2006 and Gaza in 2008, respectively. The rhythm of Nakba is played out as alternating intervals of long periods in which time stands still and nothing seems to happen and hectic moments of upheaval connected to the latest political event, when people take to the streets and participate in demonstrations and political meetings and in a flow of text-messages, emails and phone calls. Through participant-observation and interviews the thesis explores how al-Nakba is actualized in mundane activities and spectacular events, in narratives and silences, in bodies and things. The thesis bears witness to how al-Nakba cannot be delimited to a historical event of 1948 nor to a specific geophysical place (such as the Occupied Palestinian Territories), but can take place anywhere and anytime, such as in Denmark in the present. The analysis suggests that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is not a chronological phenomenon with a beginning and an end but, rather, a rhythm characterized by the coexistence of past, present and future. This entails that the single Nakbas are not fuelled by the current political catastrophe alone but also by all of the past and the potential future Nakbas. The thesis concludes that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is a mutable object that can become riots against the police, a Cartoon Controversy or an invasion of Lebanon or Gaza. The thesis identifies two characteristics of the mutable Palestinian-Israeli conflict. First of all, the current catastrophes are not copies of nor caused by al-Nakba of 1948. Rather, they are new conflicts that feed off what is at hand within a specific milieu at a given time, such as contemporary conflicts, artefacts and people. Secondly, the mutable conflict is nourished by temporal and spatial absences, such as the lack of transmission of knowledge from parents to children and the absence of a Palestinian nation state. It is these absences that enable the conflict to be recreated anew and become meaningful in new settings and at different times.The thesis is based on sixteen months of fieldwork between September 2005 and February 2008.

AB - This thesis analyses how the Palestinian-Israeli conflict moves across time and space. Empirically it explores how the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is actualized among Palestinians from Lebanon who live in housing projects in Denmark. Based on a detailed ethnographic study the thesis shows how the conflict is actualized as a rhythm, which the thesis coins ‘the rhythm of Nakba’.The Arabic term Nakba literally means catastrophe and usually refers to the Arab-Israeli war of 1948, when the state of Israel was declared and more than 700,000 Palestinians became refugees. Among the interlocutors, though, the concept of Nakba is used in two additional ways, namely, to embrace their everyday life in Denmark (as in: ‘Life in Denmark is a catastrophe’), and to single out specific contemporary political events like the Cartoon Controversy in 2005, local clashes with the Danish police in 2008 or the Israeli invasions of Lebanon in 2006 and Gaza in 2008, respectively. The rhythm of Nakba is played out as alternating intervals of long periods in which time stands still and nothing seems to happen and hectic moments of upheaval connected to the latest political event, when people take to the streets and participate in demonstrations and political meetings and in a flow of text-messages, emails and phone calls. Through participant-observation and interviews the thesis explores how al-Nakba is actualized in mundane activities and spectacular events, in narratives and silences, in bodies and things. The thesis bears witness to how al-Nakba cannot be delimited to a historical event of 1948 nor to a specific geophysical place (such as the Occupied Palestinian Territories), but can take place anywhere and anytime, such as in Denmark in the present. The analysis suggests that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is not a chronological phenomenon with a beginning and an end but, rather, a rhythm characterized by the coexistence of past, present and future. This entails that the single Nakbas are not fuelled by the current political catastrophe alone but also by all of the past and the potential future Nakbas. The thesis concludes that the Palestinian-Israeli conflict is a mutable object that can become riots against the police, a Cartoon Controversy or an invasion of Lebanon or Gaza. The thesis identifies two characteristics of the mutable Palestinian-Israeli conflict. First of all, the current catastrophes are not copies of nor caused by al-Nakba of 1948. Rather, they are new conflicts that feed off what is at hand within a specific milieu at a given time, such as contemporary conflicts, artefacts and people. Secondly, the mutable conflict is nourished by temporal and spatial absences, such as the lack of transmission of knowledge from parents to children and the absence of a Palestinian nation state. It is these absences that enable the conflict to be recreated anew and become meaningful in new settings and at different times.The thesis is based on sixteen months of fieldwork between September 2005 and February 2008.

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